Earlier this year, California start-up Pebble Technology took the wraps off the Steel, a trussed-up version of its base-level timepiece. Whereas the original $150 Pebble is distinctly gadgety looking, the $249 Steel is all sleek metal and hard lines – a smart watch for people who don't particularly want to look like they're wearing a smart watch.
This week, Pebble will begin shipping the first Steel watches; consumers can order the device on its landing page. Meanwhile, reviews of the Steel have started to trickle out. How does it fare? Pretty well, actually.
"The Steel, which comes clad in CNC-machined stainless steel (type 316, if you must know), is stately, refined and classy," writes Brad Molen of Engadget. "That's in stark contrast to the original, which we'd describe as 'colorful.' Sporty. Fun. [The Steel's] build materials and industrial design are better than any other smart watch we've seen, and Gorilla Glass 2 helps make the watch feel durable."
"Browsing and discoverability in the software store reminds me of what it was like to find apps for iOS and Android in the early days of both of those software marketplaces: there’s a lot of scrolling, and some limitations in terms of organization of content, but overall it’s still much better than the process has been," Mr. Etherington writes.
According to Shawn DuBravac, the Chief Economist at Consumer Electronics Association, smart watch sales could top 1.5 million globally by the end of 2014, with one million of those devices going to American consumers.